Born in 1987 in Geneva and growing up in Lugano as the grandson of maestro Raffaele Paverani, it was inevitable that Alessandro Kraus, DJ and music producer, would be living and breathing music deep within his soul from early childhood.
Now, he lives between London and Milan and after spending time cutting and stitching together EDM sounds over the years and with his music selling out nights in the most prestigious of European dance clubs he is more than ready for 2017. As resident DJ at Just Cavalli Milano for three consecutive years, thanks to his talent, Alessandro is now the protagonist for many festivals, fashion parties and designer events – he is indeed the ‘go to’ DJ for the jet set crowd..
Embarking on a solo career with his own sound and style—and calling his music “blues infused rock & roll with soulful swampy under tones”, ANTHONY KRIZAN is one of the premier songwriters and producers in the New York metropolitan area. He first rose to fame in 1994 as lead guitarist for the commercially successful jamband, the SPIN DOCTORS, however, prior to joining the popular group, he had carved out industry recognition in his own right—having been signed to both POLYGRAM and CHRYSALIS RECORDS. Once he took to the stage in his new role with the Spin Doctors, Krizan got right to work–bringing his electrifying guitar prowess and solid backing vocals to the group. He also wasted no time in lending his superb songwriting skills to the cause, co-writing the band’s third album, which included the theme song for MICHAEL J. FOX’S hit TV show “Spin City”
Bigg Homie hails from Philadelphia, PA. His debut album Condo Music featured production from Bizzness, Don Cannon, and Flippa. His goal is to bring pride and prosperity back into Hip-Hop. Between YouTube and WSHH, Bigg Homie‘s videos have received over 500,000 views, & that’s only the beginning.
Derek Keith Barbosa (born April 8, 1974), better known by his stage name Chino XL, is an American rapper and actor, known for his “technically” accomplished style, consisting of self-consciously over-the-top punchlines, exaggerated egotism, complex rhyme schemes, and use of multiple similes, puns, metaphors, and word play. He has collaborated on various projects with some of the most well known in Hip Hop. Chino is also an avid bodybuilder. Chino started rhyming in 1986, as said in his song “Don’t Say A Word”. He has released four solo studio albums, in which his most recent – Ricanstruction: The Black Rosary – won the 2012 HHUG Album of the Year award. After co-founding the duo Art of Origin, the emcee was signed at age 16 by music impresario Rick Rubin to Rubin’s American Recordings label, which was once part of the Warner Bros. Records family. He released his debut album Here to Save You All in 1996, which was released to critical acclaim. The lead single “Kreep” which featured an interpolation of the Radiohead song “Creep” experienced major airplay by radio and MTV. Kreep charted on the Billboard Bubbling Under R&B Chart for a record 23 weeks, from July 1996 to January 1997.
Music may run in the blood, but in this case it’s rooted soul deep. Made up of Troy Baker and Dale “Dizzle” Virgo, DizTroy is a production group that’s born and bred in Jamaica, and infused with British and American musical influences. UK-based producer Troy and Jamaican sound specialist Dizzle create songs that are rooted in Jamaican sound system culture and accented by various subgenres including hip-hop, EDM, and Brit pop, placing them at the forefront of the emerging electronic music scene. They bring ample amounts of attitude alongside an electric mash-up of music that is as creatively exciting as it is it technically complex. The self-taught duo’s music plays like an addictive flow that delves into EDM-inflected beats, reggae and dancehall infused hooks and a genre-eluding take on electro soul. They claim to draw inspiration from New York’s early hip-hop scene blended with Jamaican dancehall and the British R&B/Pop wave.
16 y/o singer/songwriter, Jake Mason, was born in Long Island, NY and started to sing, dance, and write his own songs at an early age. His influences are Michael Jackson, J. Moss, Smokie Norful, Stevie Wonder, Justin Bieber, and Usher. Jake plays on his high school’s basketball team and golf team and also plays tenor saxophone in his school’s concert and jazz bands.
M1 Dead Prez & Bonnot
M1 of the legendary — and revolutionary — hip-hop duo dead prez is back with some lyrical food for the people. Finding new inspiration overseas, M felt captivated to record a full length album with a like minded force from Italy — of all places. “I met Bonnot many years ago when dead prez was featured on his producer album,” M1 tells VIBE. “Things progressed quickly from there, and many songs & tours later we found ourselves prepared to take on a stale U.S. music scene. Many identify me as a “conscious rapper” — although I would rather [be called] Reality Archivist. Feeling as if his European comrade was a kindred spirit when it comes to music and his beliefs, the Brooklyn native was quick to get the ball rolling on the project. “It was ironic to travel to Italy and find an artist with a similar perspective and musical journey,” says M1 about the album. “His is linked with the Italian version of Public Enemy, Assalti Frontali, and mine of course with dead prez.”
Born Ireland and raised in Southern California, Mahkenna had spent her early years learning and performing music for family and friends. Mahkenna spent her summers playing fastpitch softball and riding horses. She loves watching Disney channel and musicals and became fascinated by acting and performing on stage. Mahkenna started Voice at age 5 years old under the direction of Francis Monachelli and now is being taught by one the the industries greatest vocal coaches Seth Riggs. Mahkenna was excited to be in Beaverly Hills at the John Casablanca School for Acting and Modeling where she has gained the experience from professionals in the business and is ready for her Hollywood career.
Novel is a Canadian native who grew up in Paradise Hill, Saskatchewan in a small village of 515 people. At age 3, she began dance classes. By 5, Novel was competitively dancing in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and hip-hop. In 2009, she graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Ballet. Since then, she has performed in several dance and musical theater productions and on The Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Music has also been a passion of Novel’s. She began writing tunes at a young age. At 12, Novel made her first live television performance. It led to Novel being a guest performer for top Canadian country artists and to singing the Canadian and American National Anthems for NHL hockey teams, in front of crowds numbering 18,000 and more. “I get more nervous if I notice there isn’t a crowd,” Novel says with a laugh. “The bigger the crowd, the better I perform.” With dual citizenship to the United States, Novel moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams. She wrote and recorded a five-song demo that got into the hands of Poet Name Life, a two-time Grammy winner for his work with the Black Eyed Peas. They wrote and produced new material including “H8Luv”, a song that received heavy rotation on Virgin Airlines’ Listen Deep Channel.
Honored as a peacemaker and virtuoso, OMAR FARUK TEKBILEK is now one of the most sought-after musicians, whose work transcends political boundaries while maintaining traditional sensibilities in a way few artists can manage. Omar Faruk was a musical prodigy. He was born in Adana, Turkey to a musical family who nurtured his precocious talents. At the age of eight, he began his musical career by developing proficiency on the kaval, a small diatonic flute. At the same time he studied religion with thoughts of becoming a cleric, or Imam. His musical interests were being nurtured by his older brother and by a sympathetic uncle who owned a music store and who provided lessons. “He had a music store, and he also had another job during the day. So he told me to come after school, open the store, and – in exchange – he gave me lessons.” While working in the store, Omar Faruk learned the intricate rhythms of Turkish music, how to read scales, and other rudiments. He was trained on and eventually mastered several instruments; ney (bamboo flute), zurna (double-reed oboe like instrument with buzzing tone), the baglama (long-necked lute), the oud (the classic lute), as well as percussion. By the age of twelve he began performing professionally at local hot spots. In 1967, upon turning sixteen, he moved to Istanbul where he and his brother spent the following decade as in-demand session musicians. Omar Faruk stayed true to his folkloric roots, but during this period of frenetic session work in the metropolitan music scene, he explored Arabesque, Turkish, and Western styles and the compositional potential of the recording studio. In Istanbul he also met the Mevlevi Dervishes, the ancient Sufi order of Turkey. He did not join the order, but the head Neyzen (ney player), Aka Gunduz Kutbay, became another source of inspiration. Omar Faruk was profoundly influenced by their mystical approach and fusion of sound and spirit. During that time he was introduced to Hatha Yoga and eventually to Tai Chi and Chi Qong, which he continues to practice daily.
Stephen Edwards is one of today’s most in-demand film and television composers. An accomplished pianist who can be heard on Hollywood’s top soundtracks, Edwards has also won acclaim for his orchestral and choral compositions that have been performed at Carnegie Hall and the Vatican.
As one of Hollywood’s most prolific composers, Edwards’ original compositions are featured in top grossing films including the multiple Oscar-winning Dallas Buyers Club, Southpaw, Muppets Most Wanted, The Mechanic, Shanghai, Amelia, I Love You Philip Morris, and over 50 other films in genres ranging from comedy to action, martial arts and documentaries. Edwards received the Hollywood Film & TV Music Award for his original score to the 2008 film Finding Rin-Tin-Tin. Current projects he is scoring include Boyka: Undisputed, Cops and Robbers and Stoic. His original songs and instrumental compositions can be heard on television series such as Two and a Half Men, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mad Men, The Blacklist, ER, Transparent, and over 50 other series. In 2017, Edwards’ first feature-length documentary, Requiem for My Mother is scheduled to be released by American Public Television. The film, which was inspired by his mother and musical muse Rosalie Edwards, is produced and co-directed by Edwards and chronicles the creation of his original choral and orchestral composition of the same name, and the journey to its premiere before an audience of television, radio and concert-goers at a prestigious musical festival in Vatican City. Edwards’ Requiem earned high praise from acclaimed composer John Williams, who wrote “Your requiem is a lovely work! It seems heart-felt and honest, and contains a delicate innocence…making it touching tribute to a Mother from a loving son.”
Zack Edward, a Miami based DJ/Producer, has wasted no time making a name for himself in the electronic dance music community. Once known for his mashups and edits, Zack has demonstrated the ability to produce original music worthy of the support from artists such as Tiesto, David Guetta, Hardwell, Nicky Romero, Nervo, Thomas Gold and MANY more. In March, Zack landed his first Beatport top 10 track with the release of his single, “Closer.” With several follow-ups slated over the coming of months, Zack Edward is ready for a big year…stay tuned and keep listening!
A Love Like Pi
Lief Liebmann believes you can’t take second chances for granted. The New York-based musician should know: Liebmann’s band A Love Like Pi, which formed in 2006, has seen more than its share of bad luck over the past few years. First, on the eve of releasing their debut album The Atlas And The Oyster in 2009, the president of A Love Like Pi’s record label passed away in a plane crash. Then, just as the band joined the roster of Roadrunner Records, the label merged with Atlantic and A Love Like Pi recorded an album that was shelved. Band members left, reducing the band to Liebmann himself. Tough breaks to be sure, but nothing could stop the music. A Love Like Pi found a new label in Krian Music Group, recorded a new and now begins again. “All of it freed me up a little bit more musically,” Lief says. “I was able to embrace the idea of being a multi-instrumentalist because I’m no longer tied to the traditional band dynamic. I can do what the song calls for in the moment. These new songs were written over the course of those two years in purgatory. There’s a certain amount of frustration infused in what I wrote. The conversation every artist has with himself is ‘Who am I writing these songs for?’ This EP was written for me.” The five-song EP, entitled James And The Giant, was recorded throughout 2013 with producer Kenny Gioia (Head Automatica, American Authors, Hall and Oates) in South Carolina over several sessions. Lief focused on bringing his violin parts into the music, infusing each song with augmented orchestral lines that add to the soaring, electro-pop aesthetic. “The Atlas,” the EP’s opening song, is a propulsive anthem, synth beats joining with an evocatively cathartic chorus, while the title track embraces a surging rock sensibility. “Jack and the Giant,” an introspective ambient number, reveals A Love Like Pi’s quieter side, its melody shimmering with emotive heft. For Lief, the songs connect through both the music and the lyrics, which represent an important means of expression for the musician. “I’m making an effort to approach every new release as a section of a larger narrative,” Lief says “Each song is starting to feel like a different piece I am affixing to some giant sculpture I’ll be creating until the end.” A Love Like Pi, who have performed at SXSW, Bamboozle and Warped Tour, and toured extensively in the U.S., play live with a full band, including the group’s longtime drummer Christopher LoPorto. This second chance is full of possibilities.. It’s an opportunity to explore the bounds of music for Lief – and to continue creating songs that are written for himself.
As Nat and Rob Rufus began separately penning songs for Blacklist Royals’ new album, Die Young With Me, it quickly became clear that the musicians shared a thematic mindset. The twin brothers, who have played together in bands since they were 13 years old, both found themselves circling around the same experience, compelled to finally excise their demons in song. The experience was this: When Rob was 17 he was diagnosed with a rare form a cancer. He spent nearly three years in the hospital, rotated in and out of surgeries and treatments. One of his lungs was removed and numerous side effects lingered. Once Rob was well, supported the whole time by Nat, the brothers moved from their hometown of Huntington, West Virginia to Nashville to begin Blacklist Royals. The group, bolstered by new members, released their debut album, Semper Liberi, in 2010 and toured for three years extensively, playing with bands like Less Than Jake and NOFX and performing at Warped Tour, The Fest and SXSW. As the musicians came off the road and began writing, they found themselves centered on the theme of childhood sickness. As the narrative themes shifted, so did the songs themselves, and the band took an evolutionary leap forward – one that simultaneously restructured its lineup. Blacklist Royals, again, became two brothers struggling to prevail through less-than-ideal circumstances.
Ever since the release of his debut album in 2008, singer-songwriter Johannes Sigmond goes by the name of Blaudzun. He surprised music fans and critics, and received rave reviews, which he was able to improve on with his second album Seadrift Soundmachine (2010). This second, widely acclaimed album and subsequent live shows created his definitive breakthrough in the Netherlands. His music has been likened to indie pop and folk rock and is aesthetically compared to Arcade Fire as well as to Ryan Adams and Antony & The Johnsons. The various comparisons show that it is difficult to stick just one label on this man’s work.
2007 – 2008
Johannes Sigmond (Arnhem, Netherlands – 1974) played for years in various bands and projects before he continued as a singer-songwriter in 2006. In 2007 as Blaudzun, a name taken from a relatively unknown Danish cyclist from the 70s, he was working on a special collection of songs, originally intended to be a soundtrack for a midnight car drive. He headed south to Barcelona to work on new material. In his residence near Amsterdam he recorded most of the songs in a small bedroom, while adding some sessions in several studios in the Netherlands and hotel rooms in Barcelona, Spain. Critics and music fans alike labeled his self-titled album (V2 Records, 2008) as a surprising and wonderful debut. Blaudzun toured the Benelux countries that year including a slot at the Metropolis Festival while also supporting Norwegian singer Ane Brun and Mark Eitzel’s American Music Club.
We always hear it after we play a show,” says Capsula frontman Martin Guevara. “People come up and say we’re capturing the true spirit, the essence of rock’n’roll.” That spirit is alive and well in Capsula, a ferocious power trio hailing from Bilbao, Spain (by way of Buenos Aires). With a name derived from a line in David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” Capsula does indeed take its cues from rock’s legends: Bowie, the Velvet Underground, the Stooges. Or, as Rolling Stone once pegged the band, “a high-velocity union of the Cramps and the Who.” But their sound — a swirling mass of psychedelica, garage rock, trade-off boy-girl vocals from Guevara and bassist Coni Duchess, along with the pounding fury of drummer Ignacio Solimo — is “classic” only in the best sense. It’s both dynamic and fearless, built on rock’s foundation but always exploring bold new territories. It’s the spirit that caught the ears of Tony Visconti, best known for his work with David Bowie and T. Rex. The legendary producer came on board for the band’s latest album, Solar Secrets, their second record for Krian Music Group after 2011’s In the Land of the Silver Souls. “We thought it would be impossible to work with one of our musical heroes,” says Guevara (who, along with his Capsula bandmates, had actually recorded an original recreation of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album). “His work with Bowie and T. Rex…that set the pattern for our lives. But we heard he was really selective on who he worked with. So we just considered it a wild dream if it were to happen.” Nonetheless, the band sent Visconti some demos. And, recognizing a kindred spirit, Visconti acquiesced. A new, cross-generational musical bond was formed.
The Cerny Brothers
The Cerny Brothers (pronounced SERN-IE) have found a home for their Midwest roots in the heart of Los Angeles. The brothers collaborated with producer, Matt Linesch (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros), to make a rambunctious and romantic record for a definably American folk/rock genre. The self-titled nine-track album, The Cerny Brothers, was recorded in Ojai, CA at the Ed Sharpe studio. The album is loaded with emotions that run deep through the musical stories of home, growing up and family. The Cerny Brothers are: Robert Cerny – lead vocals, banjo, Scott Cerny – vocals, guitar, Cody Fontes – drums. Playing music together as little brothers, Robert and Scott grew up in rural Illinois in the small town of Sherrard. When they were young they fought over who got the Superman pj’s and who got Batman, chased each other through the cornfields in their backyard and helped their dad build the family house. Family, American pride and Midwest roots inspire a lot of their writing. At an early age, they started playing piano and quickly picked up the acoustic guitar. When they were 13 years old they recorded their first original EP and sold cassette tapes at school for $5. Sticking together, the brothers went to college in Illinois to study film, vocal performance and music composition. Eventually, Robert picked up a banjo and Scott the harmonica, rooting the band’s Americana sound. Cody grew up in the small farming community of Turlock, CA. When he was 10 years old, he put down his violin when he found his dad’s drumsticks in the closet. His dad was quick to equip him to pursue his dream of being a drummer. When he was 13 years old he came home to find his first real drum kit. Shortly after graduating college, he left for Los Angeles to play music. Before moving to Los Angeles, Robert and Scott recorded their debut album, Dream, in Illinois with The Giving Tree Band backing the then duo. After releasing Dream in 2011, Robert and Scott kept writing incessantly in Los Angeles. In 2012, they picked up Cody transforming the duo into the drum-driven Americana rock band they are today. The release of The Cerny Brothers marks their first album as a full band since leaving Illinois. The boys spend most of their day under the gymnasium floor of the converted basement of their Los Angeles church hearing the pounding of basketballs. The underground studio is where the guys rehearse, write and bring their songs to life and, ultimately, to new fans all over California. They have played over 100 shows in the Los Angeles area from dive bars to the Hotel Café, the Mint, the Bootleg, the Echo and the Troubadour. They’ve been featured on Daytrotter.com, LA’s KXLU and are regulars on Static Beach Radio.
In 1990, M-1 headed to Tallahassee to attend FAMU (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University) where he and stic.man met and formed a relationship due to their mutual love of music and similar leftist political ideology. There, their views solidified, M-1 becoming particularly interested in the Black Panther Party. M-1 joined the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement in Chicago for three years, stic.man remained in Florida. Burned out by the arduous labor of Uhuru, M-1 and stic.man chose to focus on music. Brand Nubian’s Lord Jamar discovered them in New York and signed them a deal with Loud Records. Although dead prez was not always Loud’s top priority, they built a fan base due to their over-the-top performances (they’ve been known to ignite dollar bills and toss apples into the audiences, declaring that they must eat healthily). Prior to the release of their debut album in 2000, they had already contributed songs to film soundtracks and made featurings on high profile albums. Their first recorded song, “The Game of Life (Score)” appeared on the 1997 soundtrack to the film Soul in the Hole. In 1998 their song “D.O.P.E. (Drugs Oppress People Everyday)” was featured in the movie Slam. Also in 1998, they were featured on the skit “The Rain and the Sun” off Big Pun’s album Capital Punishment, and in 1999 were featured on The Beatnuts’ song “Look Around” off their album Musical Massacre.
With over 400 awards to her name, Australian Country Music Star, Dianna Corcoran is set for global release. Already a two time Golden Guitar winner (Country music Awards of Australia), including Female Artist of The Year, Dianna spends much of her time in the US after signing a publishing deal with The Royalty Network of New York. Corcoran works extensively in both the Pop and Country community throughout Stockholm, London, Germany, Australia and the US. With numerous #1 hits and cuts to her name, including Australia’s biggest Country hit of 2010, and an upcoming Hollywood movie theme song, This sublime singer, songwriter, producer and young musical entrepreneur took her career to a whole new level by self producing her latest album, which will be released in the US in the second half of 2015.
THE ETTES return with Wicked Will, the fourth LP from the rowdy and relentless beat-punk trio Coco Hames (vocals, guitar), Jem Cohen (bass) and Poni Silver (drums) and their first on their own imprint Fond Object, a joint venture with Krian Music Group. It reunites the band with analog guru/producer Liam Watson (Bobby Long, The Kills, White Stripes), who recorded their 2005 debut, Shake the Dust at his analog Toe Rag Studios. It’s been a whirlwind two years since The Ettes’ last release, Do You Want Power, which landed the band on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and found them touring with Nashville cohorts The Greenhornes and the Dead Weather. They also made their first appearances at Lollapolooza and Austin City Limits. Nashville has been the home of rockers THE ETTES for nearly three years now. The band started in L.A., when pals Coco and Poni were working a retail gig and decided to form a band. Inspired by the girl gang at the center of the 1975 film, The Switchblade Sisters, they created a sound that mirrored the films’ stars: sexy and tough as nails. New Jersey native Jem Cohen joined on bass and the group spent time in New York, LA and London before finding a home in Nashvegas. “Sometimes wanderlust can be a blessing,” says Coco. “If we didn’t constantly get the itch to keep moving, we wouldn’t get as much done.” And what they’ve done is quite impressive.
A founding member of internationally acclaimed group – Trio Da Paz. Matta has emerged in recent years as bandleader, composer, arranger and producer. In 2008, he released Walking With My Bass, an autobiographical CD incorporating special guests from his long and distinguished career. His next release, Nilson Matta’s Brazilian Voyage – Copacabana on Zoho Records takes the listener on a musical journey through Brazil’s diverse geographic regions–via Matta’s artful arranging of classics masterpieces (e.g.,VillaLobos), not to mention Matta’s original compositions such as Baden and Copacabana which have earned him wide acclaim as a composer.
When the members of the legendary “Tropicália” band Os Mutantes took the stage before an audience of thousands at the Hollywood bowl a few years back, it seemed one of the greatest secrets in modern music was finally out. The seminal band whose ethereal absurdist pop music had inspired so many prominent musicians since their breakup decades before, were back. This time the world seemed ready. Now this influential band has reemerged with a brand new much anticipated album entitled “Fool Metal Jack”
Born and raise in the parish of Clarendon, Richie Loop attended Clarendon College but has always had a love affair with music and all that it embodies. An entertainer at heart, he dabbled in dancing and acting as a child. Later he pursued studies in Information Technology at Excelsior Community College and upon completion, worked at Gumption Recording studios as a composer. It was while working at the studio that he received the name Richie Loop. Wanting to further his growth, he ventured to Gal A Rush Recording Studios, where he spent five months fine tuning his craft. During that time he was afforded the opportunity to work with veteran reggae artist Derrek Morgan. It was while working with Derrek Morgan that Richie Loop got his big break when he was approached by Robert Livingston CEO of Scikron Entertainment, also known as Big Yard Music Label, and was instantly offered a contract
The Strange Familiar
Who hasn’t indulged the childhood fantasy of playing in a band with your best friend and promising to stay together forever (and ever)? Only in the case of Kira Leyden and Jeff Andrea—co-leads of the Akron Ohio based The Strange Familiar—it’s a dream that came… and remained… true. The pair met and played in their first band together as pre-teens at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Years later, they’ve graduated to the big leagues, amassing a musical transcript that includes over a dozen songs placed in popular TV shows, millions of YouTube views, writing “Invisible” a top 10 hit for Ashlee Simpson (“Invisible”) performing on national television with a successful run on “America’s Got Talent” and touring much of the U.S. Lead vocalist & keyboardist Leyden and guitarist Andrea parlayed their musical partnership into a bond of matrimony. The couple recently had their first child, daughter Rayne. Alongside talented band-mates and fellow Ohio-bred musicians Nicholas Sainato on drums and Frank Freeman on bass, The Strange Familiar has certainly earned its namesake. In 2008, they made their recorded debut with the indie EP release You Can’t Go Back and followed up it up with two indie album releases This Is Gravity (2009) and Chasing Shadows in 2012. Their songs have been prominently featured on popular shows such as Pretty Little Liars, NBC’s The Biggest Loser and The Vampire Diaries, “Switched at Birth,” ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters,” Teen Nick’s “Degrassi” and LMN’s “The 19th Wife.” Their song “Courage” was used for the series premier of “Secret Life of an American Teenager” and became the un-official theme song by the show’s fans. With all this growing exposure, the band was nominated and won MTVu’s Freshman Challenge.
VHS Or Beta
They say location is everything, so it should come as no surprise to learn that the aesthetic shift audible on Diamonds & Death, the fourth album by VHS or Beta, was accompanied by a change of zip code. Two years ago, founding band member Mark Palgy relocated from Louisville, KY to Brooklyn, NY. Six months later, his creative foil, Craig Pfunder, followed. From the backroom disco of their favorite Bushwick watering hole, to DFA Records’ Plantain Studio in the West Village, new surroundings exerted a powerful influence on the predominantly electronic grooves of their first full-length since 2007’s Bring on the Comets. “The pace in New York is a lot faster, and I love that,” says Mark. “You absorb the energy of the people around you here by osmosis.” “Now we’re in a place where we’re learning a lot from other people,” adds Craig. “It’s a totally different dynamic, and it’s been great for us to be in the thick of it.” The other key influence on VHS or Beta’s revitalized sound is their work as DJs and remix producers. Since 2008, the duo has put its distinctive stamp on cuts for artists like My Morning Jacket, Tegan and Sara, and Hussle Club, garnering significant attention for their remix of The Juan MacLean’s 2008 barnstormer “Happy House.” The pair soon realized their musical roles had evolved far beyond the traditional tags like “bassist” and “singer/guitarist” they accepted when VHS or Beta first formed as a five-piece in 1997; in particular, Mark discovered a natural talent for arranging and drum programming. “We started really enjoying those jobs, so it felt like a natural step that we would begin writing in that vein, too,” says Craig. “There wasn’t a conscious decision to depart from guitar for this record, but sonically, the sounds that were really exciting us were a lot of synthesizers.” Although they recorded primarily in their home studio, using whatever sounds were at hand (“we’re not vintage purists,” insists Mark), they availed themselves of the DFA posse’s cadre of analog synthesizers and peculiar plug-ins while recording the drums and mixing at Plantain Studios.